NCAA News Wire

Illinois 53, Michigan State 46

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EAST LANSING, Mich. — Junior guard Tracy Abrams had 12 points and five steals to lead Illinois to a 53-46 upset of mistake-prone Michigan State on Saturday at the Breslin Center.

Junior guard Rayvonte Rice contributed 10 points and five steals and freshman guard Malcolm Hill added 10 points for Illinois (17-12, 6-10), which increased its winning streak to three games. The Fighting Illini, which won at Michigan State for the first time in eight years, forced 16 turnovers and held an opponent below 50 points for the fourth straight game.

The No. 18 Spartans (22-7 overall, 11-5 Big Ten), who had not played since their 79-70 loss to Big Ten leader Michigan on Sunday, fell two games behind the Wolverines in the loss column with two games remaining.

Sophomore guard Gary Harris was the only Spartan in double figures with 19 points. Forward Branden Dawson, who missed the previous nine games with a broken right hand, contributed six points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

The Spartans defeated the Illini 78-62 in Champaign on Jan. 18.

Michigan State scored the first basket of the second half to take a two-point lead, but Illinois responded with a 12-2 run, capped by a Rice 3-pointer, to go up 40-32. The Spartans pulled within three on a Harris 3-pointer before Illinois answered with a Kendrick Nunn 3-pointer and a Rice layup for a 47-39 lead.

After the Spartans cut the deficit in half, Illinois reserve forward Jon Ekey fired in a 3-pointer to make it 50-43. Abrams then drained a 17-foot jumper and the Illini were never threatened again.

Rice sparked a 14-2 Illinois run during the first half with two steals and fast-break conversions as his team built a 12-point lead. The Spartans chipped away the rest of the half and tied it at 28 by halftime behind Harris’ 11 points.

NOTES: With freshman C Gavin Schilling receiving his first career start, the Spartans used their 15th different lineup in the last 24 games. … The all-time series is tied 57-57, though Michigan State has won eight of the last 12 meetings. … Illinois is now 2-6 this season against ranked opponents. Its last two games are also against ranked teams — No. 16 Michigan on Tuesday and at No. 20 Iowa on Saturday. … The Spartans wind up their regular season at home against Iowa on Thursday and at Ohio State on Sunday. … All but one of the previous 16 meetings were decided by 10 points or less. … The Illini have held opponents to 65 points or less in 23 of their last 24 victories.